Sunday, September 9, 2012
Day 1: White Stag Sign - Old Town
This photo seemed the obvious choice for starting this journey. This sign is iconic for Portland and you'll find it often on travel materials. It is situated on the southeast corner of the northwest section of the city - just north of West Burnside (the North-South dividing line) and just west of the Willamette River (the East-West dividing line). I took the photo from the south pedestrian lane on the Burnside Bridge.
Old town is known for housing Chinatown, for being a slightly seedy section of the city, but also for housing many of the top nightclubs and bars in town. Below this historic sign, along West Burnside, are several missions and soup kitchens - regularly there is a large homeless population gathered to wait in line for food, or simply to socialize (but more on that later)
What I didn't know before doing some light research is that the sign has had several different appearances. Originally constructed as an advertisement in 1940, it read, "White Satin Sugar" until 1959 and then "White Stag" - a clothing apparel line. Because the sign had been an advertisement for locally made products (and many years after White Stag had left Portland) in 1997, it was changed to read "Made In Oregon". The most recent change was in 2010, when it was changed to it's current "Portland Oregon". CLICK HERE to be directed to an article from the City Hall Commissioner regarding this most recent change. The sign is currently owned by the city and remaining solely as a historical landmark.